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Introducing...Victoria Silvstedt

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16:15 CET+01:00
In The Local's weekly profile of a carefully selected Swedish celebrity, Paul O'Mahony takes a long, lingering look at Victoria Silvstedt, the former child skiing star now known worldwide for her frequent lapses into semi-nudity.

Who is she and why is she famous?

Victoria Silvstedt is the buxom blonde from Bollnäs who dug up her small town roots and dumped them all over the Playboy Mansion. After a tomboyish adolescence in the small northern Swedish town, her international breakthrough came when Hugh Hefner's publication made her Playmate of the Year in 1997. But she had already been queen of the slopes before ever embarking on a modelling career.

Do please fill me in.

While she is best know for her frequent lapses into nudity, Silvstedt was once one of the finest youth skiers Sweden had to offer. But an injury at the age of 16 put a premature stop to the six foot bombshell's budding downhill career.

How desperately unlucky. Why is she in the news now?

Because she claims that her days of nude photo shoots and pantyless paparazzi shots are over. A recent ad campaign for clothing chain Sisters sees a pouting Silvstedt proudly wearing what can only be described as clothes.

Does this mean we have seen the last of her in swimsuits or skimpy lingerie?

Oh my God, absolutely not, as she would say.

Why would she say that?

Because she has lived in the USA for so long now that her Swedish interviews are always interspersed with generous helpings of English, 'oh my God' being a recurrent example.

That really makes her sound like a dumb blonde in the stereotypical Inga from Sweden mode.

Oh my God, absolutely not. Behind the curvaceous exterior lies a sharp businesswoman who plays to her strengths and knows her limits.

What are her limits then?

Slimming by starvation and porn - she refuses to do either.

And her strengths?

A vivacious personality and buckets of old-fashioned Swedish discipline. She credits her father for the work ethic after he pushed her hard to become a champion of the ski slopes.

And it was all downhill from there?

Oh my God, that's so not funny. Anyway, her shoulder injury got in the way and she wound up taking the Miss Sweden route to fame instead.

When was that?

Her mother and sister nominated her for the beauty pageant in 1993, just three years after she had walked away with a brand new television after a moantastic performance in a local fake orgasm competition.

And you're sure she's not Inga from Sweden?

Oh my God, not that again. Listen, she plays the Inga role and does it brilliantly, but it really is just a role. In terms of hamming it up as a naive sex bomb, she is second to none.

Her performances as guest presenter on Eurotrash, where she regularly introduced the Naked Germans of the Week segment, established her as the most memorable Inga in living memory. And she recently added to her kitsch credentials by co-presenting the French version of Wheel of Fortune, where she is set to continue for at least one more series.

Le mind boggles. But what will happen when her looks fade and the modelling agencies stop banging at the door?

A breast reduction might not be out of question for starters. She will presumably have less need for her Baltic quantities of saline as age begins to cast its cruel spell.

Sounds reasonable. But what about her financial future?

Well, she has been known to dabble on the stock market. She also had a brief musical career and has had cameos in a few Hollywood movies.

Really? A bit of an all-rounder, isn't she?

Yes, but her main investment in the future consists of her very own line of women's underwear, Very Victoria Silvstedt. She is opening a London office soon and has plans to expand the brand.

She seems like a very busy woman. Doesn't she have any plans to settle down?

She has actually been married to a man called Chris since 2000. Last year however she was pictured in Sardinia with a much older man who was clearly not Chris, doing things that she would normally only do with Chris.

Oh dear. So it's on the rocks then.

Well, she's keeping quiet about the whole thing.

Mum's the word.

It could be, yes. She has started thinking about kids. At the age of 32, the effusive model, actress, singer and general phenomenon is ready to usher in the next generation. You have been warned.


Photo on homepage: Jimmy Backius/Sisters

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